About Face


Regular readers will know this isn’t a body image blog – unless we are talking about gratuitous images of men’s bodies (and even then I aim to be delightfully cheeky rather than exploitative – I do my reverse sexism with class baby Yeh). The reason as I have repeatedly tried to explain, is that there is simply too much in the media about female bodies. The Daily Life section of the Sydney Morning Herald has at least one positive body image or anti body image shaming type article every single gosh darn day. Other popular women’s websites serve these posts up like supermarket eggs – by the dozen. ( I’m not mentioning any names as I am still trying to suck up to the popular women’s websites. It’s questionable strategy – alas).

I’m a singular voice in the wilderness saying “Pssst. Positive body image is great but women (and men ) are more than our bodies. Lets focus on women’s minds and hearts. Lets show the world what women are doing  in the home, workplace and community at large.” However I feel like I’m trying to deflect a tsunami with my bare hands. As long as body image articles continue to attract clicks by the millions the media will continue to reel them off with alarming frequency.

Today I’m contradicting my own stance. I don’t feel quite right about it but whilst Mumabulous claims to be many things “pure of heart” has never been one of them. At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I am weighing in on the Renee Zellweger/ Uma Thurman face debacle. I’m doing an ‘about face’ as it were.

Even if you are not a fan of the tattle rags and gossip sites you probably know that these two actresses have recently come under much scrutiny over their radically altered appearance. Renee no longer looks like herself. Uma looks like Uma but with oddly stretched skin.  Whatever she had done was overdone.

Debate raged for days (which is an eternity in social media time) but the politically correct consensus was that these women have the right to do whatever they like with their face and bodies and the rest of us should simple butt the hell out and shut the f^*k up.

Bridget Jones no more.

Bridget Jones no more.


Yes – they do have the right to do whatever they like with their bodies and personal attacks upon these individual is abhorrent. BUT why can’t we discuss the forces behind these choices? To me, that women (and increasingly men) are turning to radical cosmetic surgery in droves is symptomatic of a messed up society. People age. We can’t prevent people from aging. Nevertheless society can’t seem to accept aging as a natural part of life.

Uma had a dangerous liason with Botox.

Uma had a dangerous liason with Botox.

I doubt that Renee or Uma would have chosen expensive, painful and risky procedures if they didn’t think believe careers depended on it. Ironically having alot of work done doesn’t make a person look young. Cosmetic work simply looks like cosmetic work. The roles that are available for more mature women go to actresses like Meryl Streep, Judi Dench and Helen Miren – women who are believable. By contrast I can’t think of the last part (the beautiful but cosmetically assisted) Demi Moore played other than aging beauty dumped by toy boy husband for a much younger woman. Oops that was IRL.

People will always want to gaze at young attractive types. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that. However there is more to life than beauty and sexuality. It would be refreshing if our entertainment could reflect life across all its stages.  I hate myself for agreeing with Russel Crowe but I was nodding along when he said “The point is, you do have to be prepared to accept that there are stages in life. So I can’t be the Gladiator forever.” It would be nice if the Hollywood machine, the media at large and audiences shared Russell view.

In the meantime there’s an non retouched photo of super model Cindy Crawford currently floating around the interwebs. As one of the original set of supermodels Cindy Crawford was the standard to which mere mortal women could never live up to. Even Cindy a symbol of unearthly beauty has aged.

Even supermodels age so there's no hope for the rest of us.

Even supermodels age so there’s no hope for the rest of us.


If Cindy Crawford can’t hold back the years forever there’s no hope for any of us. Aging is part of life. Get used to it.

I don’t wish to criticize Renee, Uma or even Bruce Jenner for choosing cosmetic help but I do question the values of a society where people feel they need to do it to keep their careers.

Aging? Can you deal with it on screen and in real life?








21 thoughts on “About Face

  1. That photo of Cindy Crawford has just made me feel a whole lot better. There should be more real images put out there so we can stop torturing ourselves and reaching for impossible ideals. And yes, the focus should be on our minds.

  2. I find it so sad that beautiful women like Renee and Uma feel the need to go down the cosmetic surgery path (if indeed that’s what they did – sure looks that way). How did it get to the stage that how they look completely overshadows their talents for acting, philanthropy, motherhood and other important pursuits? Too much surgery and it will backfire. They’ll be remembered more for that than the reason they were in the industry in the first place. I have a friend who was getting botox done in her late 20s because she was scared of wrinkles. We’re getting more messed up as a society each day.

  3. I’m so sick of the world paying so much attention to how ‘famous’ people look – get a life already. Too many people buy this shit in magazines and until they stop the printing world won’t stop analysing faces and bodies!

  4. There was a mother at the pool with her tot, and she’d had a boob job, lips done and something else done to her face (which I couldn’t quite place, so no doubt botox wearing off, or cheek bones maybe) and I found I kept staring at her. She didn’t look bad but there was something ‘odd’ – it just didn’t look real. That’s my thing, it just becomes something that I end up staring at (like my brain is saying ‘what’s wrong with this picture?’ and trying to puzzle it out.

    For the record, I like my Hollywood leads a little older – at Kingsman, the young star was just distracting from Mark Strong, in my opinion. And if they made Daniel Dae Kim a lead, it would be the best movie ever. So yes, people are always perving at the newer younger models but us old people still go to the movies a lot, and we need people to perv at too!!

  5. I don’t mind looking older. I thought Cindy looked fab, but it was a shame they photoshopped the crap out of her anyway before publishing those pics. Sigh. I blame patriarchy.

  6. I feel so sorry for these women and how they have been attacked and criticised. I haven’t paid much attention to Uma in the news lately. Did she get plastic surgery, did she? I thought she was just getting old and I thought Renee didn’t get it either. I’m probably being very naive. Who cares what they look like. Leave them alone. (I would like to know if Bruce is going through the change though :/ …..)

  7. The aging faces of women are something to be ashamed of in our society, and it is totally wrong. And until we stop picking them apart line by line, wrinkle by wrinkle it will continue. We also need to stop and look at our own actions. Instagram filters anyone? (And yes, I’m guilty myself)

  8. I agree, and am saddened by the whole thing, from the need people feel to surgically alter their bodies to be more acceptable in whatever way, to the need the media has to endlessly discuss individual’s choices to do so.

    I LOVE movies with Judi Dench et al. I know it’s fun to watch sexy young things getting it on, but The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was also incredibly fun to watch. I wish we could have more like that (okay, I know the Second Best is out now, but still more!). We are all going at age. Okay, we are all aging right now. I love to see movies that allow for and celebrate that.

  9. If magazines starting showing more TRUE unphotoshopped images and celebrities stopped puttying up their faces then maybe one day aging could be revered rather than feared in the general public. Maybe middle-aged women would ceased becoming ‘invisible’ and would be admired and respected. Society as it is today is totally screwed up!!

  10. I think the pressure on actors to look young and slim is just so sad. Many of this mature-aged celebrities would look SO much better if they just let nature take it course, in a healthy way.
    I’m rapidly approaching my mid-40s and I plan to age gracefully, remaining fit and healthy as a priority. Seriously, I cannot understand what is so wrong with looking your age.

  11. I really don’t understand why they feel the need to change themselves. Like you said, you can tell that it is fake, it has no natural beauty to it like they had before.

  12. It’s an interesting issue, I do agree. I think in the case of celebrities there may be different forces at play for why they feel the need to alter their images via plastic surgery. For mere mortals however, there are two types I think. Those that are influenced by society and feel that they need to change to conform to some set ‘ideal’ of beauty, and those who genuinely are not happy with their appearance, to the point that it affects their life, where cosmetic surgery can actually have a positive impact. For instance, I know there are cases of people who were so embarrassed by something on their face or body that it had a real detrimental effect on their mental state, and for whom having that thing ‘fixed’ or changed has made a very positive difference in their life, and in those cases I say more power to them. But when it’s done to conform to some ideal or in an effort to prolong a career and nothing else, then I have to wonder if examining the motives more closely and perhaps having some kind of counselling would be a better option in the long run than permanent aesthetic alteration.

  13. I’ll never forget a few years ago, Chandra Willson (who plays Miranda Bailey on Greys Anatomy) winning some award, and in her speech being so excited because she won it in spite of her body, her nose and her height (I think.) Those were her words more or less. It was so lovely to hear her excitement because she’s not the conventional hollywood beauty, and her attitude was that not being that person, shouldn’t hold you back.
    We need more of that. Stars embracing who they are, and kicking butt.

  14. I deal with it but don’t have to like it. However, sometimes being ‘invisible’ has its advantages.

  15. Oh finally.. Some one who says it as it is , while everyone else stays on the same churned out topics and opinions.. Love your spin on this and I welcome every year I’m given despite new wrinkles. It’s more important when discussing anyone about living and lifestyle, what they have acheived and learned rather than one dimensional takes on this; how they look which gets rather tiresome. 🙂

  16. Yeah, I’m so sick to death of seeing all of this body image crap in my newsfeed. I really couldnt’ care less what someone looks like or what they did to themselves and shame on the media and people in magazines etc etc who have created this stereotypical image and idea that wrinkles are bad, fat is bad, cellulite is bad. It’s just a joke and I feel sorry for the actors, actresses, celebrities who feel they have to change themselves so they don’t get hammered.

  17. I didn’t even know that was Uma Therman until you pointed it out. I have wondered if Renee had the same surgery my mum did. My mum had heavy eyelids that sagged with age meaning she couldn’t fully open her eyes (hope that makes sense). She had to get the surgery done so she could see. Renee used to have a slit of an eye space and now we can see her eyeballs – hence my conclusion on that one.
    AND hooray to ageing bodies! Hooray to Cindy Crawford. I read a very sad article about a woman who hasn’t smiled in 40 years. She brags that she has no wrinkles. I’m glad that I can brag that my wrinkles are laugh lines, well and truly. A big hoorah for this post!

  18. If they are happy with it, then I am happy for them. I would have plastic surgery to make ME happy not someone else.

    But yeah, it makes me sad that many women are doing it for others. My adored Real Housewives of All The Places are HORRENDOUS and a lot of them would look so much better if they just aged normally.

  19. Wow, I hadn’t seen the Uma Thurman shots! I think they must be under incredible pressure, but sadly it’s also often the beginning of the end once they make these drastic changes. One thing it proves is that being/feeling beautiful is all about what’s going on in your mind because the most commercially ‘beautiful’ of women still have chronic self esteem issues. Hollywood is one of the most unbalanced ’employers’ though isn’t it? The blokes get more and more ‘charismatic’ or ‘distinguished’ while the women just get ‘old’.

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